Falsterbo was founded in 1909 on a spit of land 25 minutes south-west of Malmo, but arriving at the club you feel you could be driving into a traditional club in Ayrshire, Kent or South Wales. Its weathered timber clubhouse, the puffs of fine sand when a breeze picks, and an enjoyable lack of fanfare signal this is a proper golf club. But is it a proper links? It looks like one from images, but they can be deceptive… and the promise of proper seaside golf in Continental Europe can often be misleading.
The initial signs show caution was wise because while the 1st is tight, exacting and played on sandy soil, you could never describe it classically linksy – and it sets the tone for the first third of the course.
Falsterbo is Sweden’s No.1 and, surely, a seaside course impossible not to thoroughly enjoy.
It is all excellent fayre on springy, tightly-mown turf — especially the classic strategic two-shot 4th — but not the continental cousin of British links we had hoped for.
But when you pass the clubhouse on the enjoyable short par-4 7th and turn to play away from it on the short 8th, you head to the dunes, the coast and the best of Falsterbo. Now, Falsterbo is defined by low ridges of sand dunes, cerebral green complexes with subtle undulations, and consistently excellent holes.
Some might anoint the short 11th as the pick while others may insist on the two-shot 15th that begins on the edge of the Baltic, while the stunning dog-leg 17th will have its supporters.The last will too, played to a green sitting between a deep bunker and a tall dune that demands an accurate approach to finish one of the continent’s finest experiences on a high. Members here initially played on a nine-holer set down around the lighthouse by Copenhagen’s professional Robert Turnball.
But just over two decades later local doctor Gunnar Bauer extended Falsterbo to 18 holes while retaining original holes such as the fine 7th and 14th, the latter playing over a tall bunker that obscures the receptive green with the lighthouse as a backdrop.
A recent greens and bunker restoration process by Peter Nordwall and Peter Chamberlain has enhanced this low-lying links. It is Sweden’s No.1 and, surely, a seaside course impossible not to thoroughly enjoy.